In what should be a moment of glory for Republicans, much of the Grand Old Party is campaigning like a party of trolls.
“Trolling” in the age of social media has become the deliberate provocation of others online and increasingly on campaign strain, blurring the line between conventional discourse and the rants of right-wing talk show hosts. .
Illinois got a taste of that in the current gubernatorial race when state senator Darren Bailey, a proudly self-proclaimed “downstate farmer,” escaped the six-person field after a May debate in which he called Chicago “a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole.”
Say what? Bailey isn’t the first critic to describe the city’s recent crime problems in harsh terms.
Still, hurling insults at the state’s greatest concentration of money and votes is, to say the least, an unusual way for a Republican to win votes in a predominantly blue state.
Yet Bailey, who in 2019 called for Chicago to secede from the rest of the state, only doubled down on her point. He won the coveted endorsement and nomination from Donald Trump, aided by $30 million from Democratic Governor JB Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association, which believed he would be the easiest Republican candidate to beat.
We will see. Likewise, Democrats have spent millions on other seemingly vulnerable far-right Republicans across the country, despite the risk that, in today’s glum electorate, some of them might actually win.
Remember when a Trump victory was undone too quickly? Now, nearly every GOP hopeful is weaponizing culture war issues and sounding like Fox News star Tucker Carlson.
For example, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the contenders Trump defeated in 2016, escalated right-wing rhetoric at a recent GOP “Sunshine Summit” to denounce Democrats as “controlled” by mad Marxists and laptop liberals who work from home in pajamas” and produce “incompetent leaders who will lead us through crisis after crisis.”
More down to earth, he also pointed out that workers fear invoking “common sense” on issues such as gasoline, inflation, crime, fentanyl-related deaths and illegal immigration.
But, the last time I checked, gas prices have fallen and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has also failed to lay out a detailed policy agenda of economic concerns.
Along the same lines, I was disappointed to see the Trumpian turn of JD Vance, former Trump critic and author of the best-selling “Hillbilly Elegy,” which won Trump’s endorsement and Senate nomination. of the Ohio GOP by going the complete obligatory route of Trump in his rhetoric.
He drew a torrent of unsurprising criticism for his newly uncovered remarks at Pacifica Christian High School in Southern California last September that it would be better for children if their parents stayed in abusive marriages than if they divorced, according to a video obtained by Vice magazine and published. on Youtube.
In response to questions from Vice magazine, Vance, whose memoir chronicles domestic violence in his own family in his hometown of Rust Belt in Middletown, Ohio (where I also grew up), said he “criticized the setting progressive of this issue, don’t embrace it.”
“I think one of the great things that the sexual revolution pulled on the American people,” he told Vice, was to convince people that divorce would make people happier in the long run. Instead, he said, “what we have is a lot of very, very real family dysfunctions that are making our kids miserable.”
Fortunately, the domestic turmoil in Vance’s family was largely resolved without a divorce and with the wise leadership of his grandmother, in particular. The book, later turned into a film directed by Ron Howard, offers a heartwarming story but, alas, no one-size-fits-all solution.
For declining industrial towns like ours, for example, I think we also have to take into account the great strains that job loss and addiction to painkillers place on traditional family life, compared to the more economic times happy place I grew up in, years ago. forward.
Furthermore, the diagnosis of “sex revolution” does not explain why incidents of intimate partner violence declined over the 20-year period between 1995 and 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – or studies that show higher rates of domestic violence among unmarried partners than married couples.
Of course, it is appropriate for political candidates to debate the causes of such problems. But we also need remedies, not just speeches.
Email Clarence Page at [email protected] ©Clarence Page 2021. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.